Overcoming Food Fear

Michelle Pietroboni | 17 Sep 2019
Food fear is a strand of emotional eating which can have debilitating effects on your life. I know this from painful personal experience. For many years, I placed rigid restrictions on myself, demonised food, suffered severe physical discomfort and was consumed by a sense of dread at mealtimes. Sound familiar? You may be suffering from food fear too.

My turbulent relationship with food crippled me socially and emotionally. I rejected reasonable thinking and obsessive thoughts consumed my mind. If I ate anything that caused the slightest tummy reaction, I berated myself. I hated my tummy and begrudged how much suffering it caused me.

Eventually, I realised that my food fear was deeply rooted in my lack of self-worth and awareness.

My damaging emotional mindset was a direct result of my turbulent relationship with food.

I set about facing this unhealthy relationship.

Strategies That Helped Me Overcome Food Fear

1. Recognise your fears

What are your fears? Where do your fears come from? Are you frightened that you will gain weight, lose control or harm your body? Do you see food as being good or bad, a friend or foe? Do you feel that the function of food is to nourish or torture? Negative mindsets are rooted in fear. Recognising these negative perspectives can begin to shift your relationship with food.

2. Reframe your beliefs 

Make a list of your current food beliefs. Consider where each limiting belief has come from. Challenge and reframe these limiting beliefs. Every time you have a negative thought about food, ask yourself, “Is this really true?”

Positive beliefs are empowering, for example, “food nourishes my body.” Fear-based beliefs such as, “food makes me fat” are often defeatist and rooted in restriction. Repeat your new, empowering beliefs daily. Once you begin to accept them as truth, you will discover how much these new beliefs improve your relationship with food.

3. Eat mindfully 

Rather than mindless eating, try mindful eating. Chew your food slowly with conscious intention. Take time to acknowledge where the food has come from, notice the colour, the taste, the texture, the sounds it makes when you chew it. Try eating mindfully at mealtimes and observe the difference.

4. Energise your food 

It sounds very New Age but scientific studies have shown that positive thoughts and intentions can transform and alter the molecular structure of our food. You can channel the same energy into your food that you would when you give a warm hug. Start by placing your hands over your food prior to eating, tap into ‘warm, fuzzy feelings’ and say something like, “I infuse this food with love, joy and peace.”

5. Adopt an attitude of gratitude

Being thankful for the food you eat cultivates feelings of love. Love replaces fear.

If you access loving thoughts, your body will respond in a loving way.

6. Stress less

Stress creates tension in the body and tension creates digestive imbalance. Before meals, quieten your mind, breathe deeply and relax. This will make a huge difference to your digestive ability.

7. Listen to your body

Listen closely to what your body is telling you. Does it respond in a relaxed way to your food suggestions or in a tight and restrictive manner? The best option for you will feel light and open. Cultivate the ability to follow your body’s wisdom and guidance.

8. Be gentle with yourself

Remember, change is a gradual process that requires patience and acceptance. Every hurdle you overcome is an accomplishment. Celebrate the small steps you take towards developing a love for what is on your plate and for yourself.

Changed thinking and eating habits, have helped me feel more healthy and vibrant. By challenging my fearful patterns, my relationship with food has positively transformed. And yours can too!

About Michelle Pietroboni

Michelle Pietroboni is a Child Life Therapist and a passionate advocate for children and their emotional needs while undergoing hospital procedures. She helps to minimise their stress through medical, procedural and therapeutic play. 

Establishing rapport and close relationships with children to ensure feelings of safety and security, developmental assessment and play opportunities to ensure milestones are met within the hospital environment and family education/support around the emotional and developmental needs of their children.

Michelle also enjoys MC-ing at Committed to Childcare Conferences across NSW, writing articles online for local publications such as Babies on the Coast and Kids on the Coast magazines, blogging, creating love infused artwork, self-care playshop facilitation and love heart treasure hunting. Contact with Michelle on Instagram and Facebook.

Disclaimer: This Content has been developed from our generous global community and is intended for informational purposes only. This Content is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon. Further, the personal views and experiences published are expressly those of the author, and do not represent the views or endorsement of SoulAdvisor through the act of publication on our site.